In many ways, BREW’s inaugural event set the tone for what was to come. That first evening we went without mic, amp, or podium—equipment typically part of readings—since I didn’t possess such things and the café didn’t provide them. Later, I decided against using them, since at roughly 800 square feet, the café is small enough that any reader with the ability to project and enunciate can be heard, though there’s more to it than acoustics. Put a mic in the reader’s hand and a formality descends—the reader’s voice is louder, stricter, ceremonial. The audience is suddenly straight-backed and rigid in that way many of us have been conditioned from the first time a vice-principal’s voice reverberated across the school gym. Without a mic or podium, the atmosphere takes on an ease and spontaneity. There’s an intimacy about an artist in front of an audience, unconcealed and unencumbered.
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